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Greek government on course to win landslide victory in historic referendum

Celebrations are underway in Athens this evening.

Greece Bailout Source: Petros Giannakouris/AP/Press Association Images

- Updated 21.30

THE GREEK ‘NO’ vote has run away with a landslide victory in today’s referendum on continuing the country’s bailout terms.

With more than 70% of votes counted, the ‘Oxi’ (‘No’) side is being put on 61.5% with the ‘Nei’ (‘Yes’) side coming in with 38.5% of the vote.

This has prompted the resignation of Greek opposition leader and the country’s former PM Antonis Samaras from the leadership of his New Democracy party this evening.

Support for the ‘No’ vote has come from across the country, with particularly strong backing in urban areas.

Supporters have this evening gathered in Syntagma Square in Athens, the site of the Greek parliament, to celebrate the victory.

Within less than half an hour of polling stations around the country closing, all six of Greece’s major television stations had predicted a ‘No’ win.

It has been reported by Helena Smith in The Guardian that the Greek government’s negotiation team may be preparing for a return to Brussels this evening.

Reaction

Following the vote reaction has been forthcoming from across Europe.

Greece’s finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has this evening held a press conference, saying that he is happy to reopen negotiations with the country’s creditors and that the Greek people had ‘ignored the fear’ created by closed banks and the international media.

He has said that “today’s ‘No’ is a big yes to democratic Europe”.

Despite this, Sky News is reporting that Germany’s deputy chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has described the possibility of new talks as “difficult to imagine” following the result.

In contrast to this, Reuters are reporting the Italian position as having a notably softer tone, with calls being made for any rescue plan to take into account the ‘deep crisis’ that exists in the country.

Greece Bailout 'No' voters celebrating in Syntagma Square this evening. Source: Petros Karadjias/AP/Press Association Images

AFP is reporting that PM Alexis Tsipras has already been on the phone with numerous leaders around Europe – including French president Francois Hollande and possibly ECB president Mario Draghi.

Speaking earlier, Greece’s interior minister Nikos Voutsis, addressed a press conference in which he described the referendum as “successful and of historical importance for everyone”.

Greece Bailout Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis casting his vote earlier today. Source: Petr David Josek/AP/Press Association Images

What happens now?

Talks between Greece and its creditors are expected to resume as early as this evening.

Angela Merkel is set to travel to Paris tomorrow to meet with French president Francois Hollande to discuss the result of today’s referendum.

It is also being reported that following this meeting, Hollande could be set to call an emergency gathering of eurozone countries in Brussels on Tuesday.

In a newspaper report this morning, President of the European parliament Martin Schulz had mooted the possibility of an extension of further emergency loans from the EU to Greece to help keep its public service afloat.

Making the statements in the German newspaper Die Welt, he also stood over the approach that the EU had taken towards Greece.

Greece Bailout An elderly woman who was unable to walk up steps to a polling station in Athens casting her vote Source: Angelos Christofilopoulos/AP/Press Association Images

According to Reuters, the European Central Bank’s executive board member Benoît Cœuré has said that the institution is prepared to take necessary action in what are ‘uncertain’ times.

The youth

The youth vote is being credited for the extent of Syriza’s victory.

It is thought that among young voters, the ‘No’ vote was backed by a proportion of two to one. It has been seen today that a larger proportion of older voters backed the ‘Yes’ vote – with fears over their savings and pensions.

The Guardian’s earlier described how the under-25 age group in the country could be a crucial demographic.

speaking to the newspaper, 18-year-old Greek Kosmas, said, “I will be voting ‘No’ because we have to say ‘No’ to the rotten system… I have never known anything else. There must be something better out there.”

First published 12.45pm

With additional reporting from - © AFP, 2015

Read: ‘What the Troika is doing with Greece has a name – terrorism’ >

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